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Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) News/Business. (2013) Discussing gun control, immigration and potential Supreme Court vacancies.

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Vermont 5, Us 4, John Boehner 3, Johnson 1, Jennifer Steinhauer 1, George W. Bush 1, Kennedy 1, Patrick Leahy 1, And C-span 1, United States 1, Far As Kennedy 1, Plywood 1, Ronald Reagan 1, Sonia Sotomayor 1, New York City 1, Canada 1, Ireland 1, Durban 1, Italy 1, Walkway 1,
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  CSPAN    Newsmakers    Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)  News/Business.  (2013)  
   Discussing gun control, immigration and potential Supreme Court...  

    January 20, 2013
    6:00 - 6:30pm EST  

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t country that we're on the right path and that we can build on what we have done the first four years. it has to be optimistic. again, it has to have the broad themes but will be >> former sport shirt -- former speech-writer. thank you both for being with us. >> thank you. >> we will continue for a couple more minutes. we have a live view from the white house. we are told in about two or three minutes we will have a scene inside the blue room at the white house for the president will be taking the oath of office, this marking the third time he has taken the oath of office. he had a do-over in 2009. the ceremony will be taking place tomorrow. what you think is going on there
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today as they prepare for this moment and tomorrow? >> probably try to rest up. i will bet there are two run- throughs of the inaugural address today. but a very few changes at this point. >> was it necessary to come back to the white house and the liberty of office a second time, the day after he was sworn in? >> no. i do not think so. i think it was pedantic to suggest that he was not do we inaugurated. >> but they did so. you remember the statement, and the abundance of caution, to make sure there is no caution -- there is no question that he took the oath of those 35 words. >> as you can see from what happened during his presidency, from his birth to whether or not he is a socialist -- everything has been questioned. i think the caution was well
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taken to make sure that no one could ever challenge that he was really the president. host: we have had very little insight into what the present will be saying tomorrow. what does that tell you? anything? guest: not really. i think we would get the dribbles of that later today. they hold these things pretty close till the end to save some of the dramatic affect. >> this goes from the north entrance to the reviewing stands. is that correct? >> yes. that is for the first family and presidential guest in the reviewing stand. it is interesting. committed pictures from an operations going back at least as far as kennedy. that same picture would be on the screen if you're looking at 1961. that walkway, that plywood. the stand doesn't look like it
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did, it has changed. it used to be open, didn't it? there is a great story about president kennedy in that limousine coming up to the reviewing stand and his father, ambassador kennedy was in the stand and stood up to take his hat off before the president of the united states and just as he squared with the reviewing stand, the president stood up in his car and tipped his hat to his father. >> this weekend, the 57 inauguration as president obama begins his term. live, shortly before noon eastern. it begins with a look back at the 2009 inaugural address at 10:30 a.m. eastern. and then on monday, with the swearing in at noon eastern and other inaugural festivities,
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including the capitol luncheon. live coverage begins at 7:00 a.m. eastern time on c-span, c- span radio, and c-span.org. join the conversation on facebook and twitter. senator patrick leahy. thank you for being with us. joining us is a congressional reporter for "the new york times" jennifer steinhauer and fawn johnson. let me begin with the comments made this past week as the president outlined his gun strategy. he made a passing reference to violent in media. you said you want to take a closer look at that part of the debate. how can congress legislate morality when it comes to gun violence or movies? >> movies and television and what not the response and not
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the congress. it to be family members, parents. with my grandchildren there are programs that are not allowed to watch. i think that is right. we should be doing more of that. the industry has to ask itself how glamorous do they make killings, the same in a movie. there's nothing glamorous about somebody being killed. i was at a number of murder scenes when i was a prosecutor. there's nothing glamorous about that. i worry about people glamorizing it. the issue has been raised.
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we will ask about it. i do not think anybody in the senate has worked harder to defend the first amendment. i do not see a law that will ban of these things. >> after the president announced his initiative and things like to see happen in congress, it seems clear that you like to see those things go through your commit see. i am wondering how you see that going forward. >> it is not going to go through the appropriations committee. this is not the jurisdiction. it is a lot of extra work for our committee. i want to set an example to everybody. we will have a hearing this
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month. we have this anywhere in the congress. it is there so we do get something done. we will hold this. i want to understand the legislative language. some of things they will do by executive action so we do not have to do that. there are things we should do. we should look at it. we're going to hear from people on all sides of the issue. if we come up with something, it is never an easy thing to do in congress. you have to balance the second amendment rights with people's safety. i understand that. we will have these hearings. i assume either at in house or others have the jurisdictions.
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people have hearings, too. i am the only one having hearings. >> let's look at the three specific things the president talked about. a limit on magazines and universal background checks. those are pieces he spoke about. do you see a committee taking up each individual piece? >> the president has not endorsed any particular language. it makes it more difficult to talk it out. if someone is a felony they can go in and buy weapons at a gun show. if you go to a gun store in your state or community, an owner has to pay taxes, state
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taxes, local taxes. it has to follow the rules or he/she will lose the license. a lot of gun shop owners i talk to say why should we have to do all this? these guys can set up in the parking lot and have a gun show and not have to follow those rules. if you're going to have rules it is going to be for everybody. you cannot say the rules apply to you but not to you. you might want to close the gun show loophole. suddenly, having real background check. if i purchase a weapon, i have to go through a background check the same way you would. that should apply to everybody. they do not have any way to
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check on that as california has found. a lot people should not have weapons but do because there is that a way to compare records, a felony records and so on. let's close that so we can say whatever rules we have will apply the same to everyone. >> i want to ask you some more about guns. one of the things i want to point out is you have another big domestic policy item in your camp which is immigration. you are going to be starting to work on that sometime in february. can you talk about how you'll be able to balance that with the gun issue, both very high- profile and complicated issues?
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>> we will bring back the violence against women act. i have learned to balance the tasks. i'm not afraid of work. if the president does set up specific language that will make it easier. that would be very helpful. i worked with president george w. bush on a comprehensive bill. i stated publicly at the time that this democrat strongly agrees with a republican president. why not do it this year? i get the impression talking to
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a number of republicans and democrats that everybody feels we have to do something. you have to face reality of 12 million undocumented people. you have the reality of children who know no life except here. if we say you have to leave the country tomorrow. a whole lot of our businesses will shut down. a lot of things would grind to a halt. worse than that, a lot of families would be destroyed. my grandparents immigrated to vermont from italy. my great grandparents emigrated from ireland. my wife's parents immigrated to vermont from canada.
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i wonder if any of them would have stayed. they forget that they are probably one or three generations of someone coming from this country. i think we should have the dream act. senator durban has been a wonderful champion of that. we will work together on that. there are lots of other things we should do. the path to citizenship is easy to say. the devil is in the details. >> how will you work with republicans to pass something from the white house?
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it has to be bipartisan. are you in conversations with republicans? >> yes. that is the beauty of a judiciary committee. i have never blocked someone from bringing up an amendment. even if i could i do not. i will give you an example. it had been 50 years since we made our patent laws. it involves billions upon billions worth of jobs. i took it on. i said let's and do it. we worked with a bipartisan fashion. we passed the first update in the patent laws in 50 years.
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it was done. the president signed it. it has not only saved jobs but it is creating millions of dollars of jobs. forget the posturing and work. >> let me ask you on a senate issue. john boehner issued a statement critical of the senate saying your body has not passed a budget in for years and it is time to produce a budget that cut spending. >> we did pass one. we did the so-called sequestration legislation. i realize he has to play to his base. this poor guy could not get sandy relief at the end of the last congress. they finally got through part
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of it after some local members of his party said do not give any more campaign contributions to republicans until you do. i would like to see the house to some of that. i do not believe i should tell them what to do. we passed a bipartisan farm bill. we worked very hard on it. it passed overwhelmingly. it got to the house they were afraid to even vote one way or another. we passed the violence against women act. how could anyone be in favor of violence against women? it passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support. if it goes to the house, we
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cannot do anything on this. we passed the sandy relief. they would not take that on. my message is i appreciate it. i like speaker john boehner. we are friends. maybe you might want to get your own house in order before you tell us how to run ours. he is a longtime friend. i mean that seriously. people would feel a lot better about congress at a whole if the leadership could get their house in order. we need to keep passing legislation in the senate as we have. >> is congress broken? >> it is not the congress i knew when i first came here. >> do you want to elaborate? >> we have far more people in
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both parties that seemed interested in doing what is best for the country and not what is best for their own political portrait. >> would you say republicans and democrats are equally guilty? >> in senate we have seen more filibusters all from the republican side. that is more than i saw 30 years before that. i tried to analyze it. i became the president pro tem of the senate. it was not something i saw. i am the most senior member of the majority. i became that. there's been a little time for reflection. you can sit there and reflect. there are things that have to change.
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i admire senator bob dole. he had been a republican leader. he supported the disability treaty, something that ronald reagan would have supported. he had commitments from a number of republicans. he was on the floor in a wheelchair a great jeopardy to his own health and they voted it down. that is a sad commentary. i could see it on some things like you may have a dispute over arms control agreement. disability affects everybody. it got voted down. it is not the same as when i came in. i've seen great leaders in a
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number of others, it is one of the most typical jobs. you have so many people on different agendas often named a minority. >> can we circle back to the next agenda items that you say you are a gun owner. what is your view on-magazine clips? >> i say having a weapon with a 30 round magazine for civilian use is a weapon you use a in war. i do not see a need for it. vermont has a virtually no gun laws. we do limit the amount of rounds again have during deer
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season for a semi-automatic. we have to be as protective of our citizens generally as that. i've never known a gun owner or hunter in vermont who says i have 30 rounds. >> we have about eight minutes. >> i am interested in your feelings about an assault weapons ban. >> i voted for the last assault weapon ban just as i voted to
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outlaw the [inaudible] i feel strongly about having served eight years in law enforcement. one of the questions i told my staff is i would like to get a definitive answer. did the assault weapon ban work? everybody understands the ban that you cannot have any fully automatic weapons. not since the 80's. i do not want anything symbolic. i want something to make people safer. they do not mind following the law as long as it applies to everybody.
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it is hard to say one size fits all. we have different gun laws in vermont than new york city. >> based on some of the ads and statements from nra officials, can you have a constructive dialogue? >> i invited him to come and appear before my committee. this is going to be a real hearing. i will urge senators on both sides of the issue to be there and ask real questions. i do not need work for the sake of symbolism. i want a real hearing. we need a real dialogue. i was upset. i saw an op-ed criticizing
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president obama's children for having security. i agree with her. there are areas where the president's family should be off limits. they should be protected. can imagines what it would look like around the world if something happened to either the president or a member of his family? it is not going to be a platform. i hope they will answer questions. they have a duty to be truthful to answer questions. i hope they will accept my invitation. >> then you move to legislation.
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will you do individual laws? >> let's see how much we can put into individual bills. people will vote it up or vote it down. everybody has talked about and nobody has done anything about it. >> what do you make of the criticism that some say you're holding hearings to drag out the process? >> you are right. we should just have a hearing this afternoon. it does not work that way. we have to at least ask what is in it. i am doing it the first month we are back. nobody has moved that past the
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house or senate. do you know how much a bill would have passing? it would not get 3 votes. if we did not have a hearing, the chance of getting through a committee would be zero. that is the way the process works. >> you are committing some of the strictest rules of being able to pass out of the committee. how are you going to deal with that when you have more than one agenda item? >> i hope the public would react on that. >> are you going to have to change the judiciary rules? >> no, there was some opposition to the violence
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against women act. it got through the senate. i have never cut anybody out for or against a bill of mine. we move more effectively than those committees. we get things done in committee faster. >> we have a couple of minutes left. >> i've brought up sonia sotomayor. i scheduled it. people complained, saying i was moving too fast. as it was the same for roberts. it is the same for him but not for her?
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>> what is your biggest concern, immigration or guns? >> i do not think it is either/or. president bush was right in saying that we needed it. >> you are a veteran of the senate. what will the senate passed? senate john boehner says he will take your lead. >> god bless him. i do not know. i wish i knew. it would be so much easier if i did. i would hope to close the gun show loophole. i would hope we would have background checks the same for everybody.
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>> you have taking on a new role of being the new president pro tem. you have big shoes to fill. tell us about that role. also i was amused by a headline when they first anointed you. >> one of my kids said "you are what?" part of it is ceremonial. you do have in the back of your mind you are in line for the presidency. i tell president obama i pray